Denver, Colorado. June 8, 2016. Today Colorado led the nation as the first state to legislate a bold, inspirational goal: zero suicide in healthcare. Governor John Hickenlooper, surrounded by key suicide prevention advocates, signed Senate Bill 147, making Colorado’s healthcare system committed to a leadership philosophy and a proven standards of care that have been shown to decrease suicide (learn more here: www.ZeroSuicide.org). The bill passed in large part due to the effort of a statewide advocacy effort spearheaded by the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado. Through grassroots efforts among people bereaved by suicide, suicide attempt survivors, prevention advocates, researchers, and clinicians, the passion of the SPCC membership was heard, “Not another life to lose.”
“Senate Bill 147 provides the Office of Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Commission the opportunity to better partner with health and behavioral health systems across Colorado. Having the support and encouragement of the Colorado Legislature will open doors and emphasize the importance of integrating suicide prevention strategies into health care systems. This integration will help reduce the high burden of suicide in the state and make Colorado a leader in addressing the problem of suicide,” said Jarrod Hindman, Violence and Suicide Prevention Section Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
“I am ecstatic that we finally have our Suicide Prevention through the Zero Suicide model bill! I am so proud to be a part of the suicide prevention community that has made this a reality,” said Senator Linda Newell (D-26), primary sponsor of Senate Bill 147, member of the Suicide Prevention Commission, and co- sponsor in the House with Rep. Brittany Pettersen (D-33).
“This is the third suicide prevention bill passed since 2012. SB 147 should have the greatest impact on decreasing Colorado’s very high rate of suicide - in 2014, with 1,058 deaths, the state ranked 7th in the nation,” said Susan Marine, Advocacy Chair for the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado and mother of two children who died by suicide.
“This is what the power of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado can do,” said Sally Spencer-Thomas, Board Chair of SPCC, and survivor of her brother Carson’s suicide. “When we get our state’s advocates organized and channel our energy around a solution, we are unstoppable. No one should die in isolation and despair. I am so very glad our state’s legislative leaders have heard our plea.”